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Realistic heating of a home with a pellet Stove

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Deed, Dec 22, 2007.

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  1. Deed

    Deed Member

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    I Recently bought a Mt Vernon Insert, Was told it would heat a 3800 sq f house. My home is aproximately 1300 and can't seem to heat to the back of the house. The livingroom, dinning room and Kitchen are fine as it is an open concept. It keeps these rooms at 71 decrees the back of the house is at 62 give or take. I keep the setting at Low to medium Low, can't see if there would be much more saving if you ran it higher then this to oil. Is this realistic?

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Short answer: No.......

    Longer answer can be found at many threads here on the board, but you can't fool Mother Nature. A BTU is a BTU.
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/You_and_a_BTU/

    Longer answer - there are many reasons people might want a pellet stove, but direct savings (in the long run) over oil or natural gas may not be the #1. Prices of all these fuels, pellets included, can vary greatly, but if took the last five years and averaged them all out, chance are that the prices would be relatively close....with any small Pellet savings lost due to the price of the stoves.

    Then again, oil does not come from the sawdust in the woods near where you live. Organic and local foods often cost more than those which are imported. So there is a price to pay for being part of the "renewable revolution"...

    I think you have the idea - stay warmer in an area where you might hang out. Certainly results will vary - a user in a milder climate will get much better spread of warmth.

    Does that answer your question?
  3. Deed

    Deed Member

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    Thanks for your response, it was helpful. I was looking to see if this was what I can explect from a pellet stove. I'm not disappointed at this point with the heat. I can see over time I will see a significant saving. It appears that to become less reliant on oil we will have to put up with some monor inconviences. I now have to wear slippers when I walk around the house. I also don't run around in the back of the house in my birthday suit for as long. Have a happy holiday.
  4. minnow

    minnow Member

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    I disagree with Webmaster. My fireplace insert pellet stove cost $3000 installed in Oct. 2005. Since that time, I have saved over $2,000 over the cost of fuel oil. Fuel oil right now is $3.25 a gallon. I use 450 gallons a year in fuel oil to heat. Thats $1462.50 if oil does not go any higher this winter, which of course it will. I spent $675 for pellets this year so the net savings just for this heating season will be at least $787.50. Hence at the end of this heating season, the stove will have paid for itself and going forward it will have saved me big dollars.
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    im actually heating my house with a pellet unit (our smallest model 25-pdvc) with ease. granted though its only 1250 sq ft in Va. but im running for the most part n its lowest setting.

    i,d suggest looking at ways to better help the heat to move around the dwelling to better broadcast the heat. here is a test to try;

    stand in a doorway leading from the room the stove is in (while its been running for a while) take a candle and hold it up high in the doorway (not so close as to damage anything) note the flame, if the proper circulation (or convection current) is present, the flame will lean away from the room with the stove into the cooler room, now, lower the flame to the floor , the flame should lean toward the stove. if this is not happening then the current is not there and thats why the room in question isnt heating up.

    now , here is the trick, as the stove heats the air , the warm air rises and spreads across the upper regions of the heated room, when it encounters a doorway , it will try to push into it, inside that room (the cooler one ) is (obviously) cooler air , which is heavier and thus harder for the warmer ligghter air to push, so , the solution is to help by pulling the cooler air out of that room thus sucking the warmer air in. place a small low velocity fan on the floor in that doorway and aim it at the stove. this will start pulling the cool air out and push it towards the stove to be heated, the warmer air will then be pulled into that room right over top of the cool air thats leaving. after that fan has run for a while , you will notice the air in the cooler room will be warming up, and once the current has been generated , the fan will likely no longer be necessary. another more perminant solution would be the use of "doorway fans" which sit high in the corner of the doorway and work in the opposite way , but are effective as well. i suggest the small desktop fan on the floor to test because most everybody has one laying around somewhere.

    give it a try , it actually works
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Minnow, read my post carefully......it says "over the last 5 years" - we can only guess at prices for various fuels, but last winter heating oil could be had for $2.25 around here and Pellets were $300 or so delivered...

    Also, even today NG is close to Pellets (sometimes cheaper) in many areas.

    There are people who will save some money with a pellet stove - if they get Pellets at a good price, and if their alternative is high priced (LP. Electric, oil at present prices, etc.)......But, it all comes down to BTU for BTU.

    Also, I am a little fuzzy on your math. If you paid $3,000, and used it for two years (2005/6, 2006/7) so far.....and this is the third....and you are saving $790 this season, and less (oil was much cheaper the last two winters, and Pellets were higher last year), then how does $800 (this winter), plus $600 (2006/2007) plus $600 (2005/2006) equal up to $3000 plus? That seems to be about $2000. And you have to see if you have included time, gas, service, interest on the $3000, etc.

    Not trying to rain on anyones parade, just that we have to be fair when comparing things. No two winters are the same, no two houses and the prices of fuel, interest rates (if borrowed money), service costs, appliance life and many other factors figure in.

    My point is simply that the statement "Pellet stoves save you money on heating" is WAY too general, and must be qualified by looking at each situation and all the variable.
  7. TheSmith

    TheSmith New Member

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    I have been succsesfully heating my 1500 sq ft home with a pellett stove.I am also doing this from my unfinished basement, letting the heat rise up from the cellar door.I use about 600-700 gallons of oil a year with heat and hot water.thats 2240 at 3.20 gallon for the year.(maybe less maybe more depending on oil prices etc) It does take a hour or 2 to feel the heat start to circulate but once its moving through the home it works great.I bought my stove with the intent to cut my heating bill in half for the year and its doing just that.after this heating season it will start to pay for itself.
  8. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    web , a lot depends on location , i talk to folks in some areas that are upset about 225 per ton pellet prices, and some that feel 300 is a bargain ,i myself would be looking at a 400-500 dollar amonth electric bill ( house i bought has baseboard electric when i bought it) for that even in my area ,pellets run about 5 bucks a bag ($200 ton) i burn at very most 35 bags in a month so burning pellets is a huge savings for me over the heating system the house came with. now when i burned primarily wood , i saved even more, but having moved up in the comapny to a position where i travel a lot and factoring in that my wife couldnt build a fire in a woodstove with a napalm strike and a gun to her head, i went pellet and havent looked back. i do still maintain a flue (now vacant , but awaiting its next customer) for wood cause i enjoy plaing with it. i doubt i will ever be back to primary wood heat. one thing i can promise you however , the baseboard electric is never going to be used in this house again , ive been removing the baseboards as i redo each room. the house will from here on have wood/pellet as heating options. my neighbor heats with propane , he has already paid more for heat this season than i will for the whole heating season. and he has a smaller house
  9. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    I heat a LONG ranch style 1900 sq feet home with pellet
    and that is all I use
    dont matter if it was my 3500 btu Enviro Windsor
    or my new 60000 but Omega
    Used the same amount of pellets to heat.
    about 40 pounds a day when it is cold out.
  10. SJones

    SJones New Member

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    well i cant say for sure if my pellet stove will save me money due to the fact i just purchased it a couple weeks ago.But,i can tell u i just got a drop of home heating oil 2 weeks ago at the sum of 4.07 a gallon.104 gallons was 420some bucks,It was then that i felt we had to do something.Pellets here are 5 and some change a bag and a bag will last me around18 hours and the house is totally warm.When dependant on the furnace we get the blast of warm then the cool off between cycles and on a 20 dgree day the furnace will run almost non stop.Now im no genius but i know on the average day the furnace will burn more than a couple of gallons of fuel so to us it is kinda a no brainer.I guess different situations will call for different measures.Maybe some cant or wont see a saveing with a pellet stove but im pretty sure it was the best answer for us.We had talked maybe a outside wood furnace but we dont have the wood,we would have to buy it.By the time i buy a load of logs,cut split and stack,im not sure that would save us any,especially if u figure the time to do it.

    Now what will happen in the next few years with the price of pellets,well noone knows.But im pretty sure around here that the price of fuel oil will not go down enough to turn the thermostate back up and shut the pellet stove down.As far as cost to maintain a pellet stove compared to a oil furnace,well i guess ill gamble there.Who knows,either way u could have to throw a few hundred in either heat source at any given time.Im sure a pellet stove isnt for everyone,but wood burning isnt niether.Its just something one has to figure out.In todays world nothing is a gaurantee,just have to decide whats best for u and hope it works out
  11. TheSmith

    TheSmith New Member

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    4.07 a gallon! without a cheaper source of heat Id have to start burning my furniture in the fireplace!
  12. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Theres absolutely no question you save tremendously with Pellets. I just had 100 gallons of #2 put in for a total of 320.00 for the second time this season not including what I had in at the end of the summer...thats at least 700 dollars.....and the freeking season isnt even at its peak yet lol. I have been researching and shopping around and theres no doubt that this ole guy is putting in a pellet stove. My house is 1260 sq. ft. and I have no doubt I can heat my first floor and even my 2nd floor for that matter on 2 tons, maybe 2 1/2 tons. I have many friends that have switched over and love them and have saved tremendous on heat. Of course with anything you have start up cost ie: cost of stove. As you would with a start up cost of a furnace....but the return can be awesome. And the damn Arabs wouldnt get my money lol...

    Happy Heating!
  13. TheSmith

    TheSmith New Member

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    I replaced my oil tank at the end of the summer, so the new tank was al most empty, 10 gallons or so left in it, the fill up was over 700.00!several months later the price of oil is even more.Thats when I took the plunge and got the stove.The stove placement isnt ideal, but once I figured out how to get the air moving (as descibed in stoveguys post) it works great.
  14. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    EXCELLENT!
    What part of Maine are you in? We are in Sanford area near Kennebunk.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Being the administrator here, I tend to read a LOT of posts. Also, I get quite a few emails and private messages.

    I hear everything from "Live and Learn" (folks who are sorry they bought a pellet stove) to "I heat my whole house with one bag of pellets a day"...I often hear (in New England) "The dealer told me most folks burn 2 tons, but at this rate I am going to burn 4-5".

    Honestly, I don't really put much stock in ANY of those viewpoints. We have been using SCIENCE for many hundreds (even thousands) of years to "prove" things, and "My stove heats the house with two logs for 14 hours" (that was a wood stove line I started hearing in 1979) just does not cut it any more!

    The proper way to decide on (and use, etc.) a heating system is to do your research BEFORE you purchase, not afterwards. If a person is doing something for $$ alone, do a REAL comparison, not only against the existing Central Heat, but against a freestanding gas,lp,wood or even oil (yes, there are very efficient oil space heaters)..... figure everything in - from the interest on the money, to the current and future service costs. Figure in the gas, hassle, etc...

    But that is only one part of the equation. There is a large "green" factor in the move to Pellets, and some people enjoy hauling the bags, loading, cleaning, etc.....but it still should be thought about. Will you enjoy it as much in 3 years, in 5 years? Will you enjoy it even if oil comes down and pellets go up?

    Of course, none of this stuff matters if an appliance is being bought for recreational, luxury, gadget and MANY other reasons. But it certainly DOES matter when some folks are spending 4K for a total installation and borrowing it on their cc with the idea they will save a lot of money (and they live in a big drafty farm house in New England).

    Where the weather is temperate it can be a whole different story. I have friends in Ca. who heat their entire house with a 12,000 BTU floor mounted gas heater. But read a post like this from an ex-wood burner in VT, and you will get my drift:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/11975/

    Bottom line: I don't want to talk people into or out of a biomass stove, but I do not want folks just blindly following the crowds and dealers....do your homework and make a educated decision. "My neighbor has one and saves a lot" is not proven science nor research!
  16. Deed

    Deed Member

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    Thanks for your responses to better educate people of things to consider. In saying this, there are many varibles to all structure that affect the outcome. As I have read your comments and looked into the cost of pellets and use. In my case I have a five year warranty on the product. After this well I will have too look at the total cost that is spent and inconviences of it all. Up tohis point if all is factored in i will save over a $1000.00 I'm also looking to become less reliant on oil and have spent much money tring to do this and will continue to do this. New furnace in the last two years. New windows more insulation Solar etc. Again it is looking for the future to have alternatives. The stove I have burns four differant types of fuel and who knows what else will come down the pike that it can be ready to burn.
  17. TheSmith

    TheSmith New Member

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    Im in the berwick area.

    I agree with web, do your homework first.I bought my stove after a home renovation with left over cash, we came in underbudget and I am using the money towards the home in other areas.I dont know if I would have a stove if it werent for that.
  18. minnow

    minnow Member

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    Certainly none of us can make a blanket statement that pellet stoves will save everyone money but it's a pretty good bet that anyone that lives in the northeast and burns fuel oil for heat will save subsantial bucks using a pellet stove. Fuel oil is not coming down in price anytime soon, absent some worldwide depression.
  19. minnow

    minnow Member

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    And Webbmaster, I read the link in your post above and I don't see how this pertains to the argument about here. That posters problems was due to a defective stove and nothing about the merits of cost effectiveness of using a pellet stove or some other means of heat.
  20. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    I agree.....I have been researching for about 7-8 months.....also have a few friends that have pellet stoves...some are new at it....and a few have had them since they were first introduced years ago. And along with info I get here....I am ready to make the plunge...Have a couple dealers I am talking to ....will decide which one to choose very soon. I have no doubt it will be a great investment.
  21. SJones

    SJones New Member

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    [/quote]
    I agree.....I have been researching for about 7-8 months.....also have a few friends that have pellet stoves...some are new at it....and a few have had them since they were first introduced years ago. And along with info I get here....I am ready to make the plunge...Have a couple dealers I am talking to ....will decide which one to choose very soon. I have no doubt it will be a great investment.[/quote]

    Good luck in what ever u do,i hope u enjoy the stove as much as we do
  22. Deed

    Deed Member

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    Thanks everybody for the comments as I'm new to this and apreciate the inpute about my inital request for info which I found helpful as, I found out my house had a air flow problem and have corrected. Along with other comments made Hope everybody had a warm and unevenfull pellet stove day Merry Christmas
  23. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    My home is old and not very well insulated.
    I did do the atic and any rehab areas get max insulation.
    In the cold months (Dec, Jan, Feb, and most of Nov and March)I would use 6 gals of oil a day or about $19 a day at todays rates.

    I now use about 100 lbs of corn or $9 at todays rates.
    About the same in btu's used but about a 50% out of pocket saved.

    btw, I run the corn burner wide open most of the time and open a window for fresh air
    if it gets a little warn.
    Being able to have heat when needed and not worry about stale air is worth the expense of the corn.
  24. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

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    I heat a 1800 sqft house, All we use is pellets all winter. We use about 2 tons per winter. The hallway is 71 back bedroom 68, single story.
  25. aweya

    aweya New Member

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    I heat my entire 1650 sq. ft home with my Advance pellet stove. I think alot has to do with the layout of the house. The first floor is an open design and I have an open staircase leading to the upstairs bedrooms. The living room where the stove is is 75 deg. The upstairs bedrooms and the bedrooms on the opposite side of the house are about 70 deg. I burn an average of a bag and a half per 24 hr period and about two bags per day when the temp is below 20 deg.

    I said it before and I'll say it again; If it costs me the same to heat my house with pellets as it does with oil I would still burn the pellets. Its my way of saying "kiss my buttocks" to the oil companies. Its also nice to have a constant fire in the living room. That warm and fuzzy feeling.

    Although, I know for a fact I will save about $1000 in heating costs this season.
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